Any Canadians here consider trading your healthcare system for America's?

I know there is at least one Canadian on this site- you guys willing to trade your system for America’s? I opened a discussion about Medicare for All. All the replies so far have no one supporting trying to fight for a single payer health system (Medicare for ALL) because 1) the healthcare industry is too powerful, so why even try to change things because the status quo is at least getting me by the way it is now, so too bad for the other poor suckers 2) it sounds too good to be true, so even though i enjoy a lot of things like a 5 hour work week and social security that people had to fight for and seemed to be too good to be true at the time, i don’t care because i don’t want to fight. i’ll just enjoy what other people struggled for 3) we can’t trust our gov’t to do this reform, so even though someone won’t come for me in the middle of the night to silence my opposition like happens in some other countries, i will not even attempt to work for changing our gov’t representatives 4) taxes will be too high and we will have to wait too long for some procedures even though ultimately we will save money because we won’t be paying anything out of pocket- no co-pays/premiums/cost of care- and all the money that went to the private health insurance industry will be going to us- plus even now we have to often wait for procedures or just get denied out right or go into medical bankruptcy for said procedures. So you can see people really do have iron clad reasons for not wanting to fight for medicare for all:roll_eyes: i was just wondering what a canadian would say to all this.


I am not Canadian but several decades ago left the US to become a legal resident of Canada and lived there for 2 years under their medical system. One of my children was born in Canada as well. After 2 years, I realized that I had made a mistake and moved back to the US and have been here ever since.


Two years in Canada probably gave you a perspective that few other people have.

I am sure like most things, there are positives and negatives.

Most of the comparisons I hear are from people who are residents of Canada or America but without personal and extended real world experience on both sides.

@CJ114 - Any things that would perhaps be less than obvious which would be of interest? Without a spin for the positive or negative in either direction just curious of your actual experience and being able to really compare two different systems.

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I’m Canadian and have never lived in the United States. I would not trade our system. It’s not perfect, but it’s served me and family and friends very well.


Like anything in life nothing is always perfect, for everyone, all the time. I think an easy example related to my diabetes is that I am treated at Joslin in Boston and believe that my access to the best doctors and diabetic research is available here at Joslin in the US. The reason I went to Joslin can’t be disclosed here but suffice it to say that my doctor at Joslin was involved in setting US federal standards that directly applied to my work in the International arena. On the downside, insulin has always been far more expensive in the US than in other countries where I work and living only a 2 hr 15 minute drive to the pharmacy in Canada a few hundred feet over the Canadian border, I can get the best of both worlds. Insulin bought in Canada at 90% discount from US list price and best care in Boston.

Someone who lives farther from the Canada or Mexico border or the best care facilities and does not travel as extensively, is not able to get the same advantages I currently enjoy.

The grass is always greener somewhere else and taking advantage of a piece of that greener grass when able is far different than to move to reside in another country for a few years and have to deal with the pieces of greener grass as well that country’s issues.


When the politicians talk about Medicare for All I hope that it would be a COMPLETELY different plan Not a part of my Medicare system. I paid and my company paint into the Medicare system for 42 years and I still have to pay for Medicare part B and drug plans. There is no such thing as free health care.

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Every developed country has universal health care coverage and sensible price controls in one form or another. You don’t need to compare your system with ours, there are many ways to do it but the point is the US is unique. We have plenty of problems but even our Conservative party, as much as they would like to privatize more of the system, would never campaign on eliminating it. No one would be for that. One difference I do notice between our countries is that I think people view social services as a collective good that we all benefit from up here, whereas, at least among some Americans, social services are called “entitlements” and seem to be thought of as handouts for people who haven’t earned them, and a form of stealing from those who pay their share. I know this is not what all Americans think, and I definitely think this is changing, but this seems to be a legitimate and popular political argument among those on the right in the States.


@Scott_Eric I commented on an earlier post that got deleted after I said basically the same thing. Many people in the US are vehemently against paying for the greater good. They enjoy living in a society that is as rich as it is because the people that lived in it before us were happy to pay for the greater good, and now have the nerve to basically say I got mine, screw you. Not surprising that the people who are most against it seem to be of baby boomer age - the first generation in US history to leave their children with less than they were given. I will never be able to wrap my mind around being ok with living in a society that is fine with letting people go bankrupt, or even worse - die, because they can’t afford healthcare. It’s disgusting. Our government is capable of running the best military in the history of the world, I think they can figure out healthcare.


RHOSF, HI, I am a baby boomer and I also believe that all people deserve good health care. I don’t mind paying higher taxes to help see that this happens. I am friends with people on both sides of the issue, and all are good caring people whose life experiences have helped form their opinions. It is a very difficult subject.


I’m Canadian. I was diagnosed T1 in 2005. Full blown DKA. I spent 2 nights in ICU and 4 more in a regular ward before they cut me loose with a bunch of insulin pens, glucometer, etc.

I had medical insurance through my work, but it wasn’t even necessary because I had a provincial health card like everyone else in every province.

My out-of-pocket expense for this hospital stay? About $20 Cdn for little packets of almonds from the snack machine and coffees from the Tim Hortons downstairs once I was mobile again.

So, no: I wouldn’t trade systems with America. Interestingly, even under our last Prime Minister (probably the most right wing PM we’ve had since WWII (I didn’t vote for him obviously), there wasn’t even a question of dismantling our system. It would be political suicide.


FYI, my out of pocket expenses for a surgery that was billed (JUST THE HOSPITAL PORTION) at around 1/4 million dollars, was ZERO. Ditto for the bills from the surgeon for all the visits and surgery, and for the anesthesiologist. Every time I go to a doctor, I pay ZERO. Every lab, every MRI, every CAT scan…all performed within a few days (or the same day) and all at NO COST out of my pocket. That’s because Medicare and a supplemental plan takes all the headache of out the financial issues of being ill. So I wouldn’t get too smug about the Canadian system–I’ve read plenty about how non-US health care systems ration the care, which means death or pain for many patients who can’t get TIMELY tests or treatments. I’ll stick with the system that keeps me alive and out of the poorhouse, thank you very much! Do you really want to risk getting a disease that will kill you before you are able to get the necessary treatment? It’s a very common thing (I have friends that come from socialized-medicine countries) that hits home with my friends–their loved ones died prior to getting treatment thru socialized medicine. In fact, I hear yet another instance of that from a very good friend of mine from Denmark, just 2 days ago. It’s not fantasy folks–the care in other countries is paid for by heavy taxes and is too slow to keep you alive in too many cases.


@Dave44 so what I’m hearing is you’re really really happy with your Medicare coverage and that the government has already done a great job with that program.

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That is not what I read. Dave says:
“Medicare and a supplemental plan takes all the headache of out the financial issues of being ill”
So Dave is really happy with the coverage he is getting from Medicare + Supplemental insurance. He also appears to be happy, or at least not complaining about how much he pays for Medicare and especially his supplemental plan. Costs of those supplemental plans, depending on coverage and other circumstances especially with $0 out of pocket for deductibles, Co-pays, etc. can be pretty exorbitant depending on your personal circumstances.

In my case I am pretty happy with the basic Medicare part A & B plan and related cost but pay very little for my supplemental drug coverage and as a result mitigate high supplemental premiums and co-pays by purchasing insulin in Canada.


Canada has a lower infant mortality rate and higher life expectancy than America… maybe not compared to Americans who have Medicare plus plus a great supplementary plan, but that’s not the point. The point is that even while spending less money on health care per capita than the US government does, we still have better outcomes, spread out through the whole population, rich and poor. I fail to see how this isn’t a preferable outcome to the system in America which sounds, quite frankly, horrifying.

Even our last prime minister, who was the most right wing one we’ve ever had, didn’t touch our health care system. It would’ve been political suicide (happily, he lost anyway and is now trying to reinvent himself as a “thinking man’s Steve Bannon”, whatever that means).


That is true but I don’t believe that it is necessarily all or even mostly health care system based. The average Hale (Healthy years of life) in Canada is 72.3 according to latest results. In the US not quite as good at 69.1 and even worse in China at 68.5.

It always boggles my mind that the healthy life expectancy in China is only 6 months less than the US where in China nearly every one smokes, drinks, the air is sometimes so polluted you can’t see your hand in front of your face, their water is poisonous, the oils they use in food are full of carcinogens, there is a huge problem with bogus counterfeit medication, many do not have access to medical care countryside etc. Such a worse environment and health care system and healthy life span 6 months less than US??? Go figure.

But that is you. What about people who are uninsured and can’t afford any care or medication at all?

I have sat in emergency waiting rooms, walk-in clinics, specialist offices, and laboratories with people who are homeless. They get exactly the same care as I get, even though our circumstances differ so vastly. To me, and to most Canadians, that is really important.

I and my family and friends have never had problems with wait times. My understanding is that tests and appointments are triaged according to severity based on the information on a referral form. (My understanding is also that wait times have more to do with equipment and personnel shortages in some areas than the healthcare system as a whole.) If a patient suddenly worsens or if they present to the emergency department, they will get bumped to the top of any list. I’ve certainly had appointments and diagnostic tests and treatments available within hours to days when the situation has warranted it, as have all my family and friends facing a long list of life-threatening and chronic illnesses. I’m really sorry to hear that you’ve had friends where that was not the case.

Every system is going to have its strengths and weaknesses. But every day I read posts from Americans that make the healthcare system there seem so mind-bogglingly stressful for everyone and deadly for some.


And with the shortages of doctors in the US, many seniors who I know are having to wait months for appointments with specialists.
Even when simple procedures are needed the wait can be months long.

Also again what about folks who have excellent insurance in the US, but have cancers for which the medical expenses are so high that they run out of coverage? Do they deserve to be terribly ill and bankrupt?

Isn’t the US system letting them down?


well, I am in the unique situation of being a dual citizen of Canada and the US. I was born Canadian, lived in Canada until I was 49, have lived in the US for 15 years; and was diagnosed in Canada with Type 1 Diabetes 26 years ago. I have had first hand experience of the US and Canadian medical systems including emergencies, hospitalizations, surgeries, doctors visits, specialists visits, lab work and diabetes care. I will preface it by saying both systems have excellent doctors and provide good medical care but I will also state I would take the Canadian Universal Health care system over the US for profit Health Insurance system any day of the week. I received excellent diabetes care in Canada from the get go including the ongoing services of a diabetes educator, a dietician and ongoing medical follow up at a diabetes clinic in the hospital all at no cost. When a friend of mine in the US was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes she was told to buy a blood glucose monitor, fill this prescription - and that was that. She turned to me for what to do next because she had absolutely on idea and no resources on how to manage her diabetes. The local hospital offers diabetes
education courses several times a year but there is a cost involved. There is virtually no attention paid to management and preventative treatments for patients where that is the mainstay of the care I received in Canada.

I ‘joked’ about having a second career working for the health care insurance industry when I moved here because when I reviewed the EOBs I found at least a third of them had errors either denying treatment or overcharging for services. I had to go back and forth between the insurance companies and doctors offices in order to get the errors corrected and ended up ‘saving’ over $3000 in errors from insurance billing - all, of course, in their favour. I have had to have doctors fight for authorizations for the medication that best serves my needs rather than the insurance company’s need. None of this happens in Canada. My doctor made the medical decisions about my care, not an insurance company. My doctor was also available when I needed her. I didn’t have to wait 2 or 3 days for an ‘emergency’ visit - nor have to call my insurance company for authorization to go to urgent care (emergency dept is only allowed in life and death situation - all others have to go to an urgent care after getting permission) because the doctor’s office is either closed or have no appointments available. Then, of course, there are co pays and deductibles and in network and out of network and approved providers and a mandatory visit to a Primary Care Provider who then requests a referral to a specialist - all of course with copays - and then waiting for the approval to see the specialist and then waiting to see the specialist . . . I have waited longer to see doctors here in the US than I ever waited in Canada, and I could see my family doctor the same day if I had an urgent need or I could go directly to the Emergency Department without having to stop and ask for permission first - or else risk having to pay all of it myself.

For those who think it is too expensive and taxes would go up, well, right now, Canadians pay less taxes than Americans do and get far better value for the taxes they pay than Americans do - plus Universal Health care coverage. So, yeah, Canada’s system is far superior to the Americans and will be as long as profit for the insurance companies and pharmaceutical companies is the main motivation behind health care in the US. The US has a long way to go before it can claim to provide health care on par with Canada’s.


You always make this point, but medicare is socialized medicine. It is the same as our system, the difference is it is exclusive to people over a certain age. You’re making a great argument for why single-payer makes absolute sense. If you were under 65 you would not have paid ZERO, and this is the problem for most people.

Me too, that’s why I live in Canada. This only applies in the US if you are over 65 or are lucky enough to have great health insurance with your employer.


Currently, for the average individual the health care system in Canada is better and more cost effective than the US. There are always exceptions and for some Canadians with certain medical conditions, the US is a better system for them and they come to the US for treatment. For me, Canada is a relatively short drive so I can periodically go buy my insulin there and by doing that really have sort of a hybrid system with Medicare that financially and care wise works better for me in the US.

I don’t think that except in very, very rare cases an individual or family moves to a certain country strictly because of that country’s health plan. There are always several other variables that go into the decision to move.

The US health care system is severely broken and way over priced for services and medications provided. There is an effort now to start fixing the US system. Let’s see what happens.